Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (2024)

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Fastnachts are yeast-raised potato donuts that are made for 'fasting night', Fat Tuesday or the start of Lent. This traditional Pennsylvania Dutch fastnacht recipe uses mashed potatoes or potato flakes in the dough. These pillowy soft fried dough balls are a delicious way to kick off the Easter season.

Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (1)

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  • 🥔 Fastnacht Ingredients needed:
  • 🔄 Substitutions
  • 🥣 How To Make Fastnacht Dough:
  • 📷 Making fastnacht, photo instructions
  • How to fry Fastnachts
  • Storage Tips
  • 📝 Frequently asked questions, answers and tips:
  • 🍱 More Recipes To Explore
  • Cookie Recipes
  • 📖 Recipe
  • 👩🏻‍🍳 Sarah Mock
  • Comments

🥔 Fastnacht Ingredients needed:

  • milk - whole is my favorite for this recipe
  • mashed potatoes- leftover is fine but I often will use instant!
  • sugar - white sugar
  • butter, melted - cooled
  • yeast - dry or granular yeast
  • water
  • flour - all-purpose is what I use
  • egg
  • Crisco® or similar vegetable shortening or lard for frying

🔄 Substitutions

These substitutions were passed along to me by a reader, Melanie. These are her substations for eggless and dairy-free (also no refined sugar). I have not tested them as of today. I wanted to share these substitutions for Fastnachts if you want to give these ingredient swaps a try.

  • Sub the milk for water
  • Sub the butter for vegan butter (I did half avocado butter, half lard)
  • Sub sugar for Sucanat/rapadura
  • Einkhorn flour 1:1 for traditional flour
  • Added sunflower lecithin in place of the egg

Definitely did it a little different but what a great starting point.

🥣 How To Make Fastnacht Dough:

  1. Scald the milk and combine the scalded milk with the mashed potatoes, add ½ cup sugar plus the butter.
  2. Cool to about room temperature before proceeding with the next step.
  3. Dissolve the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in warm water.
  4. Add to the potato mixture and mix well. Add 2 cups flour and mix again.
  5. Let rise for 25 minutes and add the beaten egg to the mixture.
  6. Add flour, stirring with a large spoon. Knead for about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Place the dough in the greased bowl. Cover with a thin towel, and let rise place 2 hours or double in size.
  8. Roll out and fry the dough. Instructions below.

📷 Making fastnacht, photo instructions

Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (2)
  1. Scald the milk.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the scalded milk with the mashed potatoes.
  3. Add ½ cup sugar plus the butter.
  4. Mix with an electric mixer. If the mixture is still warm, cool to about room temperature before proceeding with the next step.
  5. Dissolve the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in barely warm water.
  6. Add to the potato mixture and mix well. Add 2 cups flour and mix again.
  7. Cover with a towel and let rise for 25 minutes.
  8. Add the beaten egg to the mixture.
  9. Add 4 ½ cups flour, stirring it into the mixture with a large spoon. Turn onto a well-floured board and knead for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add a small amount of extra flour if necessary so the dough can be handled without sticking to your fingers. Grease a large bowl.
  10. Place the dough in the greased bowl. Cover with a thin towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours or until it is at least double in size.Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (3)
  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough ¾“ thick. You can use a doughnut cutter to cut the dough or cut as typical Fastnachts.Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (4)
  12. Cut the dough into 3” to 4“ wide strips, then cut the strips into 3” to 4“ pieces.Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (5)
  13. To allow the center of Fastnacht to fry completely, cut a small slit in the center of each piece, using a sharp paring knife.
  14. Arrange the pieces of dough, about 1-½” to 2" apart, on large wax paper-lined trays.
  15. Cover each tray with a thin towel.
  16. Place the trays in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough pieces have raised to about double in size.
  17. Continue to the fry instructions.

Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (6)

How to fry Fastnachts

Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (7)
  1. Heat the shortening to 365°. (a high temp thermometer works wonders here)
  2. Deep fry until both sides are golden brown, turning one time.**** THIS IS AN ADULT ONLY JOB!!****
  3. Drain on paper towels.
  4. Cool completely before serving.

Fastnacht Glaze:*husbands' favorite*

Beat together:

  • 2-½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 tablespoons margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla.
  • Add enough milk to make a thin glaze.

Drizzle the glaze over the slightly warm doughnuts or dip the doughnuts in the glaze.

For powdered doughnuts:

Shake slightly warm doughnuts in a bag with confectioners’ sugar, or a combination of confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon.

Cinnamon Sugar: *my favorite!*

Combine 1 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Stir till combined and dredge the warm fastnachts in the cinnamon sugar.

Fastnacht history:

The Pennsylvania Dutch celebrate Shrove Tuesday by eating yeast raised potato doughnuts, which are lovingly known as “Fastnachts.” The name “Fastnacht” is German for “Fast Night.” Fastnacht Day is a day to forget about dieting and a slim waistline and feast on doughnuts! It’s a custom that had its beginnings with the Plain People. Making Fastnachts helped to use up the fat and sugar they had on hand before the Lenten fast began.

Storage Tips

  • Store in a covered, airtight container.
  • Makes about 20 to 24 Fastnachts, depending on size.
  • This recipe can be doubled with no change in preparation directions.

📝 Frequently asked questions, answers and tips:

When is Fastnacht Day 2024?

Get your ingredients together because fastnacht day this year is Tuesday, February 13, 2024.

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📖 Recipe

Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (11)

Homemade Fastnachts

Sarah Mock

These pillowy soft fried dough balls are a delicious way to kick off the Easter season.

4.71 from 37 votes

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Note From Sarah

There is more to a recipe than just the recipe card. Frequently Asked Questions within the blog post that you may find helpful. Simply scroll back up to read them!

Prep time for the recipePrep Time 45 minutes mins

Cook time for the recipeCook Time 15 minutes mins

Cool TimeAdditional Time 3 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

total time to prep and cook the recipe.Total Time 4 hours hrs 30 minutes mins

Course Breakfast Recipes

Cuisine German

Makes 24

Per Serving 203 kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes (no salt, milk, or butter added)
  • ½ cup sugar ( + ½ tsp. sugar)
  • 1 stick butter (melted)
  • 1 packet rapid rise yeast
  • ¼ cup water (luke warm)
  • cups flour (divided, 2 cups + 4½ cups)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 can Crisco® Shortening (3 pounds Crisco® or similar vegetable shortening for frying)

Instructions

  • 2 cups milk

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the scalded milk with the mashed potatoes.

    1 cup mashed potatoes

  • Add ½ cup sugar plus the butter.

    ½ cup sugar, 1 stick butter

  • Mix with an electric mixer. If the mixture is still warm, cool to about room temperature before proceeding with the next step.

  • Dissolve the yeast and ½ teaspoon sugar in barely warm water.

    1 packet rapid rise yeast, ¼ cup water

  • Add to the potato mixture and mix well. Add 2 cups flour and mix again.

    6½ cups flour

  • Cover with a towel and let rise for 25 minutes.

  • Add the beaten egg to the mixture.

    1 Egg

  • Add 4 ½ cups flour, stirring it into the mixture with a large spoon. Turn onto a well-floured board and knead for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add a small amount of extra flour if necessary so the dough can be handled without sticking to your fingers. Grease a large bowl.

    6½ cups flour

  • Place the dough in the greased bowl. Cover with a thin towel, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 2 hours or until it is at least double in size.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough ¾“ thick. You can use a doughnut cutter to cut the dough or cut as typical Fastnachts.

  • Cut the dough into 3” to 4“ wide strips, then cut the strips into 3” to 4“ pieces.

  • To allow the center of Fastnacht to fry completely, cut a small slit in the center of each piece, using a sharp paring knife.

  • Arrange the pieces of dough, about 1-½” to 2" apart, on large wax paper-lined trays.

  • Cover each tray with a thin towel.

  • Place the trays in a warm place for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the dough pieces have raised to about double in size.

  • How to fry Fastnachts

  • Heat the shortening to 365°. (a high temp thermometer works wonders here)

    1 can Crisco® Shortening

  • Deep fry until both sides are golden brown, turning one time.**** THIS IS AN ADULT ONLY JOB!!****

  • Drain on paper towels.

  • Cool completely before serving.

Notes

**don't have a potato in the house? Use potato flakes as a substitute. Just be sure to reconstitute them!**

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 203kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 20mg | Sodium: 74mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g

Nutrition Disclosure

Nutritional facts are estimates and are provided as a courtesy to the reader. Please utilize your own brand nutritional values to double check against our estimates. Nutritional values are calculated via a third party. Changing ingredients, amounts or cooking technique will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.

originally posted March 8, 2011

Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (12)

👩🏻‍🍳 Sarah Mock

CEO/Owner/Founder/Culinary Blogger

Sarah Mock is a classically trained Chef and graduate of Johnson & Wales University. A culinary blogger for 14 years Sarah helps the home cook prepare her recipes with professional results.

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    About Sarah Mock

    Sarah Mock is a classically trained Chef and graduate of Johnson & Wales University. A culinary blogger for 14 years Sarah helps the home cook prepare her recipes with professional results.

    Reader Interactions

    Comments

      Leave a Reply

    1. Janine

      Hello! A couple questions:
      1. Can the dough be refrigerated/frozen at all, and if so, for how long?
      2. Can the dough be proofed in an oven at all to speed up the rise time?

      Reply

    2. Stef

      Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (17)
      Hello, I was born and raised in the south-western part of Germany. When I was a kid, every year on the Fasnacht-Day (Tuesday after Rosenmontag - I don't know how you call it) my grandma's best friend would invite me and my brother to eat Fasnachts-Küchle in her kitchen. They had the form of a rhombus with a slit in the middle and were powdered with cinnamon sugar. We used to sit there in excitement, because only once in a year we would have the chance to eat this treat. Noone else knew the recipe, even my grandma didn't. When I grew older I was no longer interested in it for some years. Years later I remembered the Fasnachts-Küchle of Tante Walburg but she was already dead and I was not able to find a recipe anywhere, although I always thought it was a common pastry in my home region. So I kind of gave up on it until some days ago I found out that there is some pastry called fasnachts in America. And I realised that it is the Fasnachts-Küchle I used to eat as a kid more than 30 years ago. I also learned that there are potatoes in the dough that give the fasnachts this special texture. And this is, I suppose, why Tante Walburg always wanted to know if we would really come to her one day in advance, because she would have to boil and cool the potatoes for the dough! I'm so happy I found this. Thank you!

      Reply

    3. Melanie

      Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (18)
      I made a version of these today, but subbed several things to make them eggless and dairy-free (also no refined sugar) and friendly for my child with allergies.

      1. Sub the milk for water
      2. Sub the butter for vegan butter (I did half avocado butter, half lard)
      3. Sub sugar for Sucanat/rapadura
      4. Einkhorn flour 1:1 for traditional flour
      5. Added sunflower lecithin in place of the egg

      Definitely did it a little different but what a great starting point.

      These were absolutely delicious!!!

      Reply

      • Sarah Mock

        Melanie:
        THANK YOU for your suggestions. I appreciate you sharing your allergy-friendly substitutions with me. I have added your allergy-friendly tip to the post so that others can benefit.

        Many Thanks!
        Sarah

        Reply

    4. Kim Beilman

      Can I make the dough a day ahead and refrigerate it?

      Reply

    Fastnacht Recipe (Deep-Fried Doughnut) (2024)

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